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Mississippi HB 928 looks to reduce the cost of public records

DollarsMississippi’s public records have long been plagued with issues of reliability and excessive cost to access. Sometimes getting access to public records can cost hundreds of dollars – much more than anyone can reasonably be expected to pay just to get a copy of an official document! Public records are, as the name suggests, supposed to be accessible to the public. Government bodies charge an extremely high hourly fee when retrieving public records. In a state already plagued with poverty, this is particularly problematic; public records should be accessible to people of all income levels, not just to those with financial resources. [Read more...]

Florida public records bill flies through Senate committee

ApprovedFlorida lawmakers must be thrilled to see their new public record bill passed so easily by the Senate committee. Last Thursday, March 13th, the bill, which aims to strengthen the state’s public record laws, was introduced into the committee and passed without a hitch.

What This Means for Florida

This bill works to greatly reduce fees to access public records and to hold searches, and it would make it possible to be able to access some of the public records that have been tagged as confidential with proper court mandates. [Read more...]

Texas mugshot websites must comply with requests for removal

MugshotRep. Steve Stockman recently got a taste of what it means to have one’s mugshot and booking report published online. He was a victim of a burgeoning niche of online outlets that republish booking photos, names and other details from government websites regardless whether that individual has ever been convicted of a crime. [Read more...]

Texas Speaker calls for less access to public records

AccessThe Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, Joe Straus, is trying to make it simpler for government agencies to keep the public away from their records.

A good press corps would pose a big challenge to Straus, who just charged the House Committee on Government Efficiency and Reform chair to look at the Texas Public Information Act with the aim to have extended deadlines, more lax procedures, and a lot of space for government agencies to keep their records blacked out. [Read more...]

Florida Legislature discarded records related to redistricting

FloridaNew court findings reveal that the Florida Legislature threw away records related to drawing up new districts, something that happens once in a decade.

The House Speaker said that there was nothing wrong about doing that, and he said that the Legislature was just following rules already in place that allow for the disposal of records if they are no longer required. [Read more...]

UT Austin gets buried in public records requests in struggle over leadership

AustinA regent at the University of Texas made a request for hundreds of thousands of internal school-related documents. As a result, UT Austin has been buried in records requests and they are struggling to comply. Some are saying that the records requests are nothing more than part of a ploy to remove the school’s president. The huge amount of requests on UT has only just begun, however.

Wallace Hall has made requests totaling almost one million records and officials at the university have said they feel overwhelmed and have trouble complying. [Read more...]

Court rules University of California does not have to disclose endowment returns

PerformanceThe University of California is not obligated to acquire and disclose data on the investment performance of venture capital funds it has in its investment portfolio, a court in California ruled late last month in a decision that could have a far-reaching effect on how public records law are henceforth interpreted. [Read more...]

Investigator exposes public records issues with private organizations in Florida

FoldersA foster care facility in central Florida could lose several thousand dollars in public funding because they have a pattern of failing to provide basic public records. It’s unclear at this point whether it is merely a minor glitch or part of a much bigger problem.

A member of a nonprofit organization went in to the foster care site to investigate. [Read more...]